Trump little guy

It's simply amazing to see how this vow to help the "little guy" is working.

Each week brings news of another broadside against a law or policy aimed at leveling the playing field between the rich and poor. The federal government has done a lousy job of achieving that goal, but with Donald Trump in the White House and Republicans in control of Congress they apparently want to make it even worse, all the while claiming they aren't.

We've been watching the attack on health care for the past seven years and now that the Republicans are in complete control they've shown their hand. "Repeal and replace," as of last week fait accompli in the House, is really a ruse to take away health coverage for lower-income Americans and save those in the top tax brackets millions of dollars that have gone to help pay for that health coverage.

Then there's Trump's one-page tax "reform," another effort to lower taxes on the wealthy while giving a scrap or two to average Americans. Corporate taxes would be more than cut in half and guess who will have to make up for the lost revenues? Either that, or brace yourself for another tripling of the national debt that our grandkids can worry about later.

As Nicholas Kristof said in The New York Times, "This isn't tax policy, it's a heist."

An even bigger head-scratcher coming from the guy who insists he's going to make America great again is the vow to not only repeal the Dodd-Frank law that's aimed at making sure Wall Street doesn't cheat its way to another Great Recession, but to do away with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the process.

If there ever was a federal agency that works to give the little guy protection from the well-heeled and greedy financial institutions among us, the CFPB is it. Although it is somewhat insulated from the whims of politicians — its funding comes from the Federal Reserve, not Congress — the law that created it can always be changed.

The bureau is only six years old, but already it has outlawed practices that the banks used in granting mortgages that led to the 2008 financial meltdown and tanked the American economy. It has put clamps on deceptive teaser rates that lured home-buyers into mortgages they couldn't afford and put an end to the big banks' practice of pushing credit card customers to buy unnecessary products. Citibank, for instance, has had to repay customers $700 million for the deceptive add-ons.

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According to a story in a recent New York Times' Sunday magazine, the CFPB has returned nearly $12 billion to 29 million Americans for wide-ranging abuses on bank accounts and credit cards, from excessive fees for late payments to charging higher interest rates than promised. Its consumer complaint line has received tens of thousands of calls from ordinary Americans who have been unable to get remedies from bad practices on their own.

Tell me again how the GOP's "reforms" are helping the little guy?

Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. dzweifel@madison.com and on Twitter @DaveZweifel

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